The death penalty could be debated in the Commons after the issue was submitted to a new e-petitions scheme.

Petitions which garner 100,000 supporters or more must be considered for debate by the cross-party backbench business committee.

The scheme could result in the most popular appeals discussed in parliament. But Leader of Commons, Sir George Young, warned it would damage democracy to ignore strong opinions among members of the public "or pretend that their views do not exist".

He said MPs must not shy away from debating capital punishment if a groundswell of voters back a demand for it to be returned to the statute books.

The first submissions to the new scheme were published today on subjects from setting up an English parliament to ensuring Formula One remains free to air.

Among the most prominent is one calling for legislation allowing child killers and those who murder police officers to face execution.

It has been presented by Paul Staines, who writes the libertarian Guido Fawkes blog, and has already been backed by several MPs.

Young played down fears about airing the subject – which was effectively abolished as a sentence for murder in the UK in 1965.

"The site has been widely welcomed as a realistic way to revitalise public engagement in parliament," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

"But there have been some who have been concerned by some of the subjects which could end up being debated – for example, the restoration of capital punishment.

"The last time this was debated – during the passage of the Human Rights Act in 1998 – restoration was rejected by 158 votes. But if lots of people want parliament to do something which it rejects, then it is up to MPs to explain the reasons to their constituents. What else is parliament for?”

Tory MP Priti Patel says she favours the return of capital punishment "for the most serious and significant crimes".

Her party colleague Andrew Turner feels the same way.

Another Conservative, Philip Davies, said he would like to see all murders punishable by death.

Any petition deemed to be libellous, offensive, duplicates existing open petitions or is not related to government will be rejected. Moderators will also block any that concern honours and appointments.